Students earn full academic credit for six semester courses. The Traveling School awards each course one semester credit for grades 9-12; Global Studies and Physical Education courses earn two semester credits. Students earn a total of eight semester credits during their time with The Traveling School.

Academic credits count toward graduation credits in: mathematics (1), science (1), English (1), history (1), foreign language (1), physical education (2), and Global Studies (2). Students are required to take 6 courses during the semester, including Global Studies, Physical Education, and Spanish (spring semester).

The counseling department of a student’s home high school must approve these credits prior to the semester. The Traveling School provides all the necessary paperwork for the counseling department. Students should discuss their post-graduation plans with the counseling department of their home high school to ensure a semester with The Traveling School fulfills all requirements for their chosen colleges and universities.

Course Options

Course Description:

Required Course. This two-credit class is designed to be a thought-provoking, discussion-based forum that teaches and promotes critical thinking and helps students make connections between reoccurring themes, ideas, and concepts from the semester. The class has two primary focuses: first, this class uses multiple methods to provide students with critical thinking tools essential for higher level reasoning and critique; second, Global Studies uses an interdisciplinary and transnational framework to explore regional economic, political, social, and environmental issues in the developing world in order to better understand how globalization operates in our world today. The class is divided into multiple units centering on different themes pertinent to the region in which we are traveling. Class begins with an introduction to the region and a critical thinking unit and ends with a unit on Human Rights. Global Studies is always team-taught and is a required class for every Traveling School student; it is designed to be an academic and reflective space for the entire group to work through the complex questions that arise from traveling in the developing world.

Course Description:

Required Course. The Traveling School is an all-encompassing experience and this course helps students understand and manage the demands of being an individual in a group setting. Physical Education (PE) & Independent Life Skills (iLife) is a 2-credit class that focuses on academic, physical and emotional successes and challenges. The PE component will help students develop strength and cardiovascular endurance. Being an active participant in PE will enable each student to be a productive member of the group and will help to keep the group physically healthy throughout the semester. Weekly iLife workshops will help students develop skills to become a healthy, productive citizen who takes responsibility for personal well-being, as well as a social responsibility for participating positively in the larger community around them. These workshops explore key aspects of communication and group dynamics to enable students to create positive, healthy relationships throughout life.  The combination of PE & iLife will help students develop an awareness of balance and well-being. Throughout this 2-credit course, students will discover a combination of exercise, study and organization habits to achieve success while maintaining physical and emotional health.


  • Beginning Conversational Spanish
  • Honors Intermediate Conversational Spanish
  • Honors Advanced Conversational Spanish

Course Description:

Required Course – spring semester only. Students are placed in one of three Spanish classes to develop Spanish language skills with an emphasis on conversation in and out of the classroom to engage in their surroundings. The goal of these courses is to teach students the fundamentals of linguistics and develop Spanish language skills through practice to communicate in Spanish-speaking countries.

Spanish is the primary language spoken in the classroom. Students are expected to improve their Spanish levels of reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension. Students learn and increase their fluency, with a combination of classroom lecture, grammar review, verb tenses, in-class discussion, instruction from native language speakers, dialogue with native speakers, and exercises in the community (for example, bargaining and buying fruit in a local market).

This Conversational Spanish course implements the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century from the National Standards in Foreign Language Education. The emphasis for this course is taught using the 5 C’s: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.


  • Honors Modern History and Contemporary African Politics
  • Honors History and Government Ecuador and Peru

Course Description:

History is all around us at The Traveling School. Students have access to textbooks tailored specifically to the historical events which have occurred in the areas where we travel. What’s more, students meet local people, visit historical sites and comb through museums and archaeological sites throughout their travels to bring what they read in these textbooks to life. How can learning be more relevant and inviting? Across all course areas, the most important lesson for a Traveling School history student circles around the understanding that with each reading of history comes a multitude of varying perspectives worth noting in order to make sense of past events.


  • Honors World Literature and Composition: Southern Africa
  • Honors World Literature and Composition: South America

Course Description:

Traveling School Literature and Composition courses are designed to provide students with critical reading and writing skills, while they benefit from the uniqueness of our environment.  Committed to the creation and implementation of a gender-balanced and multi-cultural curriculum, this course is designed to expose students to an assortment of selected works by local and regional authors. Literature requirements include reading two-three novels, short fiction, non-fiction and poetry selections. This course integrates writing skills by implementing a Significant Writing Program.  This program models the writing process: prewriting, composing, and post-writing.  Students are shown how to use language creatively and effectively by responding to, revising, editing and evaluating their own writing and the writing of their peers. Students are expected to write an average of three times per week, including informal journal prompts, creative writing and poetry assignments as well as three major compositions. Additionally, this course includes an oral component where students respond informally and formally to literature throughout the semester.  The presentations may include discussion, panels, role-playing, speeches, interpretive readings, debates, and/ or dramas.

Course Description:

This course is designed to enhance student’s understanding of the natural systems that surround us, both in our immediate surroundings in South America or Africa – and worldwide. Through a hands-on interdisciplinary approach students will use observation and inquiry skills to explore these surroundings and make connections. As we become an increasingly global society, responsible for the planet and its environmental challenges, we need to develop the skills to critically assess problems and logically develop solutions.

Students will read selections from journal articles, textbooks and other scientific literature, attend guest lectures, and participate in in-class discussions and lectures. With diverse environments as our classroom, students will discover the value of observation and inference in science as we learn basic concepts of biology, ecology, and geology, and explore the applications of these sciences into environmental science, conservation biology, and sustainable development.

This course integrates concepts from all scientific disciplines (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science and Physics).


  • For a course to be offered, a minimum of three enrolled students is required. If the minimum is not met, we will work with the student to establish an independent study. See more information below about independent studies. 
  • The Traveling School is currently revising its math course offerings. Beginning fall 2018 our math options may change to a more place-based, relevant class.


  • Algebra 2
  • Precalculus

Algebra 2 Course Description:

Algebra 2 is a sequential curriculum that enables students to build the foundations for a strong understanding of higher level math.

First Semester Course: The first semester curriculum addresses numeric and algebraic expressions and functions, linear and quadratic equations and inequalities in one and two variables. Students learn to conceptualize, analyze and identify relationships among functions graphically and analytically. Students are encouraged to master the concepts of various problem types and solution tactics, and a graphing calculator will often be used as a helpful tool to solve problems and analyze data.

  • First Semester:
    • Linear Functions
    • Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
    • Matrices
    • Quadratic Functions
    • Polynomial Functions

Second Semester Course: The second semester topics include: non-linear systems; quadratic equations; and logarithmic and exponential equations. The end of the second semester will include an introduction to probability and statistics. Students will use a graphing calculator to solve systems of equations using determinants and matrices, along with graphics of non-linear functions.

  • Second Semester:
    • Polynomial Functions
    • Logarithms
    • Rational Functions
    • Radical Functions
    • Conic Sections
    • Probability & Statistics

Precalculus Course Description:

Precalculus topics include advanced subjects in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and other areas of mathematics. In addition to forming the foundation for study of calculus, the topics covered in this class have wide ranging applications in science, art, engineering, architecture, navigation and numerous other areas. These topics will help students understand the world in new ways while preparing you for a college level calculus class. Students will study concepts conceptually, analytically and graphically to gain an in depth knowledge and variety of problem solving tactics for a range of problem types.

  • First Semester:
    • Prerequisites: Fundamental principles of Algebra
    • Functions and Graphs
    • Polynomial & Rational Functions
    • Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
    • Trigonometric Functions
    • Analytic Trigonometry
  • Second Semester:
    • Additional Topics in Trigonometry
    • Systems of Equations and Inequalities
    • Conic Sections and Analytic Geometry
    • Sequences, Induction, and Probability
    • Introduction to Calculus

The Traveling School recommends that all students take our entire curriculum, when possible. Our curriculum is designed with our objectives and goals in mind – students are inspired by what they are learning and course material is relevant to the places where we travel. However, if a student needs to take an Independent Study course, we do not allow more that two per semester.

Independent Study Course Procedure

  • Meet with your home high school counselor to determine whether student needs a specific course, then contact The Traveling School for approval.
  • Home high school teacher must provide a copy of the syllabus and the required text(s) to the student and The Traveling School. The teacher should also provide any assignments or exams.
  • A Traveling School administrator will work with student’s home teacher to ensure the material is covered at the same pace as the home high school.
  • Each student will meet for one hour per week of direct teaching, and two hours per week for individual questions and to keep the course on track (approximately 45 hours per course.)
  • Students are responsible for additional time for homework during study hall, as needed.
  • At midterm and finals, a comprehensive assessment will be included in student’s Traveling School transcript.

Cost: $500 per course



Teachers hold students to high standards at The Traveling School and expect students to participate and engage in classes. Teachers meet regularly with their students to discuss academic issues and solutions. Each teacher has set criteria for each course, which is outlined at the beginning of the semester. At midterm, students, parents, and home high schools receive an electronic midterm report outlining the student’s grade status, with comments and recommendations from teachers. At the end of each semester, teachers record a final academic grade based on the semester average and the course criteria. Final transcripts, with course descriptions and individual comments, are issued and sent to students, parents and home high schools.

Download the Course Outlines Here:

Fall 2017 Academic Information and Course Outlines

Spring 2018 Academic Information and Course Outlines

My semester opened my eyes to my place in the world and showed me what I wanted to be. I had conversations with people from all across sub-Saharan Africa, and I learned about history, literature, science, journalism, and life from their words. I came home with confidence in myself and in my generation – the confidence that we can do big things. And it all counted the same as sitting at a desk.
Traveling School Student